Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Wow, so very much of myself goes into my characters. Every one of them, even the villains take something from me. When you read an author’s work, that’s going to be true universally I’d think. That’s where the authenticity comes in and the story and characters ring true. When we read someone else’s work, we’re looking at a window into that writer’s soul. Lucky for us writer’s that the reader doesn’t know which parts are pulled from our lives, struggles and personalities. I wrote an article on Novel Journey some time ago titled “Pimp my Soul” that deals with that very subject. If you go to the site and put that in the search bar at the top, it’ll come up.
Of course, some characters are going to be more like us than others. In Crossing Oceans, for example, some of my early readers assumed that the main character, Genieve was heavily based off me, but I think if any character was like me, it was the little girl, Isabella. She’s very much like I was as a child.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Man, I have done a LOT of quirky things in my life. I’m a pretty quirky person. Moving to the island of Cyprus with no money and a one way ticket was pretty out there. For kicks, me and my teenage friends would drink coffee at Dunkin Donuts wearing our underclothes on the outside of our clothing. We would follow people at random in my old Chevette for sometimes an hour. (I still feel bad about that. We really freaked some folks out! I’ll blame it all on being young and immature.) I’m still a little different.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
Back in high-school it started to dawn on me that I could write. Everyone else would get a writing assignment and I found it so odd to see them struggle through it. I could whip out an A paper in a couple of minutes. It came easy for me. (It doesn’t come quite as easy these days unfortunately.) It was college though that I really got that I could write. I turned in a short piece on musak and my professor didn’t know I was watching him read it. I remember his eyebrows shooting up, him grinning and shaking his head. I thought, this guy really likes it and he’s someone whose opinion had some weight for me. I’ll never forget that feeling.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I grew up on things I would never in a million years let my kids read. V.C. Andrews for one. Stephen King was my man. I still think he’s a fabulous writer. My tastes now have changed considerably thought. I like historicals, classics, literary, mainstream and some suspense. I adore Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Lisa Samson, Claudia Burney and think Charles Martin is a genius.
What other books have you written, whether published or not?
My first four novels were suspense—ranging from a woman who falls prey to a Wiccan priestess, to a sleuth nurse. I plan to stay in the mainstream genre now. Now that I believe I’m writing what I was created to, I no longer feel like a salmon swimming upstream. What I’m writing now is a much better fit for my strengths.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
I don’t. I think I’m a little crazy, but hey, I’m functional. My kids keep me busy, my nursing career, publicity, writing, being a wife to the world’s most amazing man and all that goes with all of that. I’ve got a great sense of humor and as long as I keep that, it ought to keep the straight jacket at bay. That’s the theory at any rate.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
Hands down how my two boys are turning out. God has mercifully covered my shortcomings as a parent. Jacob (13) and Levi (8) are the most loving, charming, intelligent, funny and happy children you could imagine. I don’t take full credit of course but I can’t help feeling like I’ve done something in this world right when I look at them.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
Hand’s down—a bird. They’re so amazing—delicate, beautiful, resourceful and free.
What is your favorite food?
I love me some cheese! Oh and a romaine salad with crumbled bleu cheese and balsamic vinaigrette rates pretty high too.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
Being too sparse with my descriptions. I have a critique partner, Jessica Dotta, who is unbelievably talented in that area and editing her and being edited by her and the others in my group eventually wore me down and made the light bulb come on. Plus, whenever I read, I stop at good descriptions and reread them several times. It was bound to sink in eventually. One of the greatest compliments I can get involve ones on the descriptions I’ve used, because I guess, it doesn’t come naturally. I really work at that.
What advice would you give to an author just starting out?
Relax. It’s not going to happen in a day or even for a few years. Calm down, go to writer’s conferences, make friends, join critique groups, read how-to writing books, and above all be teachable.
Tell us about the featured book?
Crossing Oceans is the story of a young woman who must return home to face the ghosts of her past and tell the man she left behind that he’s about to inherit a daughter he didn’t know existed.
It’s a beautiful storyline and I’m very proud of it. I hope that it will make everyone who reads it look within themselves and question what they really believe about eternity, death and start to really consider the legacy they’ll leave behind for their children and children’s children to inherit. If you like Nicholas Sparks, Karen Kingsbury or Charles Martin, I think you’d like this one. Think Terms of Endearment, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas, or Hope Floats. It’s along those lines.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Nothing deepens a stream like a good rain … or makes it harder to cross.
Just a few hundred feet away from the home I’d sworn never to return to, I sat on the smooth surface of a boulder. With my jeans cuffed and toes wiggling in the cold water, I considered how recent rains had caused these banks to widen and swell.
Perhaps a decent relationship with my father might also rise as a result of the storm we’d endured. Much could happen in six years. Maybe my absence had, as the adage promised, made his heart grow fonder. Maybe my homecoming would be like that of the prodigal and he’d greet me with eager arms. Together we’d cry for all that had passed between us—and all that should have, but didn’t.
Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
It’s going to go just fine, I told myself as I traced the slippery surface of a moss-covered branch with my foot “What’s funny, Mommy?” Isabella’s voice startled me. I didn’t dare admit that what my five year-old interpreted as mirth was really a grimace, because then of course she’d want to know what was the matter. “Nothing, sweetness.”
She threw a pebble at the water, but it dropped inches from its goal, clinking against slate instead. “You were smiling like this . . .” She bared her teeth in a forced grin.
Gently, I pinched her cheek.
“You’re beautiful, Mommy.”
“Thank you, baby. So are you.”
“Yes, I am.”
I smiled at that. I smiled at just about everything she said and did.
“Mommy, why’d we drive here stead of Cowpa’s house?”
Cowpa was her name for grandparents of either gender. I probably should have corrected her long ago, but I found the odd term endearing. Besides, I reasoned, she’d grow out of baby talk all too soon, without any help from me. I found myself wondering what other lessons she would learn in my absence.
The thought overwhelmed me, but I refused to cry in front of my daughter. Unloading my heavy burden onto her delicate shoulders was not an option. I might not be able to control much in my life lately, but I could still protect her. Nothing mattered more.
How can readers find you on the Internet?
http://www.ginaholmes.com/ http://www.noveljourney.blogspot.com/ and I’m also on twitter as: Ginawrites, facebook under: Gina Holmes Waters (Waters is my married name) and shoutlife.
Thanks for having me, Lena. Really great questions.
And thank you, Gina, for the fun interview.
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